Our natural history : the lessons of Lewis & Clark

by Botkin, Daniel B.

Format: Print Book 2004
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 978.02 B65
Location  Northland Public Library
 
Collection  Nonfiction
 
Call Number  978.02 B65
 
 
Summary
Often referred to as America's national epic of exploration, the 28-month Lewis and Clark expedition was certainly America's greatest odyssey. Commissioned in 1804 by Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off on the greatest wilderness trip ever recorded. Beginning in St. Louis, they navigated up the Missouri River and through the prairies, enduring a winter with the Mandan Indians in North Dakota, reaching the summit of the Rocky Mountains and then following the Columbia River to their final destination, the Pacific Ocean.
Trained in natural history and in the methods of collecting plant and animal samples, Lewis and Clark carefully and meticulously recorded the conditions of the rivers, prairies, forests, mountains, and wildlife of pre-industrial America. Now, in this new edition of Our Natural History, Daniel B. Botkin, a distinguished botanist and naturalist, re-creates the grand journey--taking us on an exciting ecological adventure back to the landscape of the great American West. In retracing their steps, Botkin reveals what this western landscape actually looked like and how much it's been changed by modern civilization and technology. With fresh insight, Botkin shows us that from the explorers' observations, we can learn much about the environment of our past, our environment today, and what our environment might be in the future.
Now with a new Afterword marking the 200th anniversary of the expedition, this timely and thought-provoking book captures our imagination and stimulates our sentiment with lessons about our environment and our place within it. Our Natural History offers a stunning and rare portrait of the rugged, beautiful, disappearing wilderness of the American West.
Contents
A road through the wilderness
Meanders: nature and the Missouri River
wet and dry mud
Thirty-seven grizzly bears in the wilderness
A measured journey
Buffalo and winter on the plains: technology meets wilderness
Wolves, people, and biological diversity
Through the mountains
Down the Columbia
Winter and wood on the Pacific Coast
The return through prairie country.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Botkin, a distinguished biologist, naturalist, and prolific author, believes that our limited and outmoded conception of nature is at the root of our environmental problems. We have all the science and technology we need for coping with such dire situations as the destruction of forests and the extinction of species, but we lack the kind of perspectives and ideas that would enable us to use this knowledge productively. Botkin's quest for a viable natural history led him to the exhaustive chronicles of the remarkable Lewis and Clark expedition. Lewis, Clark, and company conducted a 7,000-mile odyssey and methodically observed, collected, measured, and mapped under the most demanding and exhausting of circumstances. Botkin puts their precious and amazingly detailed information to brilliant use as he compares their world with ours. His discussions of the fate of rivers, grizzlies, buffaloes, wolves, salmon, forests, prairies, and the people who called this "wilderness" home for centuries are hard hitting and provocative. We can only hope that books like this will steer us toward a more respectful and environmentally sound way of life. --Donna Seaman"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "This intriguing volume begins with Lewis and Clark's search for a pass in the Rocky Mountain wilderness; it ends with the author's search for original prairie in Omaha, Nebraska. Botkin (Discordant Harmony: A New Ecology for the Twenty-first Century) describes the American West as seen by Lewis and Clark in 1804-06 and compares it with today's West as shaped by industrial civilization. It is a unique picture of frontier wilderness, interwoven with Botkin's own perspective on nature. He maintains that our present approach to environmental issues is based on faulty beliefs, mythologies and religious convictions. The records of Lewis and Clark are valuable for helping us understand what nature was like before we changed it. Botkin notes that we rarely approach conservation with the methodical intensity found in the explorers' journals. He has given us a fresh and welcome perspective on that historic expedition. BOMC selection. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Botkin, Daniel B. -- Travel -- West (U.S.)
Lewis and Clark Expedition -- (1804-1806)
Natural history -- West (U.S.)
Nature conservation -- Philosophy.
Human ecology.
Publisher New York :Oxford University Press,2004
Language English
Notes Originally published: New York, NY : Putnam, c1995.
Description xix, 304 pages ; 21 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [283]-297).
ISBN 0195168291 (pbk.)
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